Malaysian Grand Prix Results – Kimi 5th & fastest lap

Source: autosport.com | race report: lotusf1team.com | team quotes

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Kimi Raikkonen says he is eager to have a ‘normal’ grand prix weekend to figure out where Lotus stands, after adding a fifth place at Sepang to his seventh-place finish in Melbourne. The Formula 1 returnee started 17th in Australia after a mistake and a timing misjudgement, then had to take a gearbox change grid penalty at Sepang which put him 10th on the grid, before recovering for a top five finish in the wet/dry race.

KR: “Hopefully we can get a normal race next time. All the time there is something going wrong or the weather changes a lot. It would be nice to just have a normal weekend and just see where we are. Right now, nobody really knows where anybody is. But we seem to have a pretty strong package everywhere. I didn’t have any experience on the inter tyres or the wet tyres. We’d only done one installation lap and it was a bit of an odd feeling to go directly into the race with tyres we hadn’t run. I just tried to stay with the others and stay on the circuit, and then pushed harder and harder. It took a few laps for me to pick up speed when I changed to dries, but after that it was OK.”

A matter of minutes before the scheduled 16:00 start time, the grid became a flurry of activity as rain began to fall on the grid. Within seconds the track was sufficiently damp to warrant a switch onto intermediate tyres before the lights went out.

Romain got a phenomenal start, launching well and using his KERS to weave his was up to P3 on the run down to the first corner. However the Frenchman’s poor fortunes from Australia continued as contact with Schumacher at turn 5 left him facing the oncoming traffic, subsequently dropping to P20. Things were to get even worse for Romain, as severe aquaplaning through turn 5 on just the third lap sent him backwards into the gravel and out of the race.

Conversely, Kimi struggled to get his E20 off the line, but managed to find a path through the confusion that unfurled during the first few corners to sit in P9 at the end of the first lap. Huge forks of lightning and torrential rain ensued, as the safety car emerged to bring some calm to proceedings. As giant raindrops continued to fall Kimi pitted for wets, falling to P13 before an immense downpour brought out the red flags and a break in the action of almost hour.

After a safety car restart the team immediately brought the Finn in for an early switch over to intermediate tyres, which proved the right call as Kimi moved up 3 places during the stops, with another position gained as Button collided with Karthikeyan. Progress continued for the former World Champion, as he jumped up to P6 by lap 16 as rivals once again dove into the pit lane for fresh rubber.

With the DRS enabled on lap 20, Kimi honed in on the back of Vettel, following the German past his compatriot Nico Rosberg on lap 24, pulling off a superb move around the outside of turn 1 after engaging the DRS down the straight.

As the laps fell away, Webber began to pile on the pressure as the team chose to remain on the intermediate tyres despite a drying track, with further rain forecast in the coming moments. Unfortunately this was not to be, and having final pitted for slicks on lap 41 Kimi was jumped by Webber who came in 1 lap earlier to put on the dry tyres.

Having withstood further pressure from Senna and Di Resta, the Finn jumped another place as a puncture for Vettel on lap 47 moved him back up to P5.

The remainder of the race was a lonesome affair, and in clear air Kimi set the fastest time of the day on lap 51, and then again on lap 54 to become the only driver in the 1 minute 40 second bracket by the time the chequered flag dropped.

PROVISIONAL RACE RESULTS 
Classified: 
Pos--Driver-------Team-----------------------Time
 1.  Alonso        Ferrari                    2h44:51.812
 2.  Perez         Sauber-Ferrari             +     2.263
 3.  Hamilton      McLaren-Mercedes           +    14.591
 4.  Webber        Red Bull-Renault           +    17.688
 5.  Raikkonen     Lotus-Renault              + 29.456
 6.  Senna         Williams-Renault           +    37.667
 7.  Di Resta      Force India-Mercedes       +    44.412
 8.  Vergne        Toro Rosso-Ferrari         +    46.985
 9.  Hulkenberg    Force India-Mercedes       +    47.892
10.  Schumacher    Mercedes                   +    49.996
11.  Vettel        Red Bull-Renault           +  1:15.527
12.  Ricciardo     Toro Rosso-Ferrari         +  1:16.800
13.  Rosberg       Mercedes                   +  1:18.500
14.  Button        McLaren-Mercedes           +  1:19.700
15.  Massa         Ferrari                    +  1:39.300
16.  Petrov        Caterham-Renault           +     1 lap
17.  Glock         Marussia-Cosworth          +     1 lap
18.  Kovalainen    Caterham-Renault           +     1 lap
19.  Maldonado     Williams-Renault           +    2 laps
20.  Pic           Marussia-Cosworth          +    2 laps
21.  Karthikeyan   HRT-Cosworth               +    2 laps
22.  Di Resta      Force India-Mercedes       +    2 laps

Fastest lap: Raikkonen, 1:40.722

Not classified/retirements: 
Driver-------Team---------------------On lap
Kobayashi     Sauber-Ferrari               47
Grosjean      Lotus-Renault                4

World Championship standings, round 2: 
Drivers:--------------------Constructors: 
 1.  Alonso        35        1.  McLaren-Mercedes           55
 2.  Hamilton      30        2.  Red Bull-Renault           42
 3.  Button        25        3.  Ferrari                    35
 4.  Webber        24        4.  Sauber-Ferrari             30
 5.  Perez         22        5.  Lotus-Renault              16
 6.  Vettel        18        6.  Force India-Mercedes        9
 7.  Raikkonen     16        7.  Williams-Renault            8
 8.  Senna          8        8.  Toro Rosso-Ferrari          6
 9.  Kobayashi      8        9.  Mercedes                    1
10.  Di Resta       7
11.  Vergne         4
12.  Hulkenberg     2
13.  Ricciardo      2
14.  Schumacher     1

Kimi Raikkonen – 5th: “It was a bit difficult today. It was my first time on the wet weather Pirellis and I didn’t know how the intermediate or wet tyres would react – I had only completed one installation lap on them before. I just tried to stay on the road and push as much as I felt comfortable with. When I changed to the dry tyres it took a couple of laps to get heat into them, and my visor was pretty dirty so seeing the dry line was difficult. Once I found my way I could push much harder. It was difficult to have another mixed weather weekend. The conditions changed a lot today so it was always a case of adapting and looking for grip. Overall, we seemed to have a pretty strong package again this weekend, so I’m relatively happy. A fifth today was okay, but we’re always looking for better results.”

Eric Boullier, Team Principal: “Today’s result is a bit frustrating. Whilst it’s good to have a car finish in the top five after starting from tenth in conditions which were very tricky, we can’t help thinking that we could have achieved more from this race. Obviously, it’s disappointing for Romain, as it’s another DNF for him in the early laps of the race. He had never driven in the rain with these intermediate tyres so we have to take that into account. He had a very good start off the line, but the contact with Michael ruined his race. At the restart, we recovered well from our position and on the plus side, the car looked strong again. Kimi had a flawless race. He was very consistent in all conditions and his best lap shows what could have been without his grid penalty. I’m sure when we have a ‘standard’ weekend – without bad weather, penalty or interruption – we will do very well.”

James Allison, Technical Director: “What we would give for a normal race! We had to fight back from a grid penalty for changing the gearbox on Kimi’s car. We also had two drivers learning Pirelli’s wet tyres for the first time today. This made for a difficult time here at Sepang. Our pace at the end of the race on dry tyres looks extremely promising from the perspective of both degradation and pace. Give us a normal race, with two clean getaways from the good qualifying positions of which we have shown we are capable, and I think we’ll be able to collect a good reward.”

Video interviews:
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3 responses

  1. rahim5077

    Amazing amazing drive by Kimi…cant even believe he survived among those who have driven on these wets….he was just awesomely consistent….hats off to Kimi and Perez as well…

    March 25, 2012 at 6:02 pm

  2. Patrik

    Yep…great drive from Kimi today. This is going to a very exciting season for sure :)

    March 25, 2012 at 6:30 pm

  3. Launger

    Well done Kimi
    amazing form as he keeps doing the last-lap-fastest-lap trick

    April 10, 2012 at 1:13 pm

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